Thursday, April 27, 2017

Franz Schubert - String Quintet (Melos Quartet; Mstislav Rostropovich)


Composer: Franz Schubert
  1. String (Cello) Quintet in C major, D. 956: 1. Allegro ma non troppo
  2. String (Cello) Quintet in C major, D. 956: 2. Adagio
  3. String (Cello) Quintet in C major, D. 956: 3. Scherzo (Presto) - Trio (Andante sostenuto)
  4. String (Cello) Quintet in C major, D. 956: 4. Allegretto

Melos Quartet
Wilhelm Melcher, 1st violin
Gerhard Voss, 2nd violin
Hermann Voss, viola
Peter Buck, cello
Mstislav Rostropovich, 2nd cello

Date: 1977
Label: Deutsche Grammophon




Previously reissued in DG’s mid-price Galleria series, this stunning late-1970s Schubert C major quintet remains a point of reference even in the face of many excellent editions that have graced the catalog over the past 30 years. The Melos Quartet was at its technical and expressive peak, obviously inspired by Mstislav Rostropovich’s commanding yet truly collegial presence in the second cello chair. Vocal sensibility and contrapuntal awareness inform every phrase, to the point where even the Scherzo’s slashing accents and the Finale’s rustic drive suggest healthy, well-trained lungs and larynxes rather than bow arms. Similarly, the conversational qualities that the musicians bring to the first movement circumvent the music’s longeurs (they observe the long exposition repeat). The broadly paced Adagio movement features accompanying sustained strings that provide a gentle, haunting backdrop to the cello’s pizzicatos, while the players’ tempered approach to the central minor-key section contrasts to the pent-up fury you hear in the Auryn/Poltéra recording on Tacet and in Rostropovich’s remake with the Emerson Quartet. DG’s closely detailed yet warm analogue engineering sounds better than ever. A classic. [08/07/2007]

-- Jed Distler, ClassicsToday

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Franz Schubert (31 January 1797 – 19 November 1828) was an Austrian composer who was extremely prolific during his short lifetime. His output consists of over six hundred secular vocal works (mainly Lieder), seven complete symphonies, sacred music, operas, incidental music and a large body of chamber and piano music. Today, Schubert is ranked among the greatest composers of the late Classical era and early Romantic era and is one of the most frequently performed composers of the early nineteenth century. His music is characterized by pleasing tunes while still has "a great wealth of technical finesse".


Melos Quartet, is a German string quartet musical ensemble based in Stuttgart, that was founded in October 1965 by four young musicians who were members of well-known German chamber orchestras: Wilhelm Melcher (violin 1), Gerhard Voss (violin 2), Hermann Voss (viola) & Peter Buck (cello). In 1993, Ida Bieler replaced Gerhard Voss as the quartet's second violinist. The group gave its first recital in 1966 and by 1975 had built up a repertoire of 120 works. They were planning a farewell tour in 2005, when Wilhelm Melcher, the first violinist died unexpectedly just before his 65th birthday.


Mstislav Rostropovich (March 27, 1927 – April 27, 2007), was a Soviet and Russian cellist and conductor. He is considered to be one of the greatest cellists of the 20th century. In addition to his interpretations and technique, he was well known for both inspiring and commissioning new works, which enlarged the cello repertoire more than any cellist before or since. He inspired and premiered over 100 pieces, forming long-standing friendships and artistic partnerships with composers such as Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Prokofiev, ...


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  2. It's unbelievable that being a fan of chamber music and of Schubert that I've never heard this. It's excellent; worth the wait :)

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